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Booming servo sales drive motion control market

24 April, 2008

Rapidly growing sales of servo products helped to expand the global market for general-purpose motion controls by more than $480m between 2006 and 2007, to reach an estimated $6,208m, according to a new study from the market analyst, IMS Research. While this growth rate is less than the 13.4% experienced during 2006, it remains much higher than that of general industry. IMS says that this is due mainly to the rapidly expanding servo market, which accounts for 80% of the total motion control market.

"Increasing levels of factory automation have provided a major growth stimulus for the European and American motion control market over the last few years," says IMS research analyst, Rob Carter. "However, more recently three key criteria have accelerated the uptake of these products into industrial machinery:

º  Firstly, the marketing of `user friendly’ servo products, built for specific applications has led to a widespread perception that these products are easier to install and tune. This has broadened the potential market to include machine-builders with limited experience of servo drives programming.

º  Secondly, the elimination of unnecessary functionality in products tailored for specific applications has been reflected in the prices. Since 2003, prices have fallen by up to 30% in some regions, increasing the feasibility of the servo solution.

º  And thirdly, increasing competition has encouraged many indigenous machine-builders to make the transition from alternative technologies to customised servo products as a means of distinguishing their machinery as higher quality.

"These three criteria continue to help servo technology to penetrate a wider variety of applications outside of the traditional high-end industries," Carter adds, "and will remain one of the most significant contributor to the forecast 8.3% CAGR of the motion control market to 2012."

In the Asia-Pacific region, the market for servo products is dictated primarily by the growth of industry, particularly in developing economies such as China and India. The Western markets of Europe and the Americas are also being affected by the spread of powerful servo products into mid-range and low-end applications, according to Carter.

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